Where Is Pete?
by Judith G. Abernethy

"...And Pete's family had their picnics at the tree from then on..."

We want to encourage kids to love nature. And though we don't want books that frighten them, we do want children to have a healthy respect for the forest, including the inherent risks therein. Abernethy, a former sustainability educator, nails it. Her book, illustrated in forest and earth tone colors, shows and tells about a family that regularly goes picnicking to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of Mother Nature while enjoying their meals and one another. Their son gets bored and sours on the outings as young children sometimes do. Wandering off, he finds himself wet, cold, shoeless, and fearful. He isn't found until he finally hunkers down, thereby allowing his family to find him. Remember the "hug a tree" lesson?

This book is exceptional because it isn't just about picnicking and remembering to hug a tree when lost. The family, together, shows their love and concern for family members. Being reminded of the security and unremitting love of family brings added comfort to children. What lengths would my family go to not only keep me but keep me safe? This family tiptoes past a bear to find their boy. This wonderful book reminds kids to take care but leaves them feeling secure and loved rather than terrified. The words and messages are simple. Preschoolers can enjoy this book when read to them, and precocious ones could even read parts of it themselves. First graders, with a little practice, will enjoy the self-confidence of reading a whole book. The font is big and inviting, as is everything else about this charming book.

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